Dual-booting all versions of Windows and Linux
Install Linux-controlled Dual-Boot of Fedora 17 ('Beefy Miracle')on a Windows 7 computer
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This guide shows how to put Linux in control when you create a natural dual-boot of Windows 7 and Linux Fedora 17 if Windows 7 is installed first. A new MBR will be created at the start of the disk and Linux's boot loader (GRUB) will be in control of startup. You can then run either by selecting one from a Linux menu during bootup. No data loss will occur and a third-party boot utility is not used.
You must shrink the Windows 7 drive to make room for Linux unless you use a second hard disk for Fedora.
32 and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 Home Basic, Enterprise and Ultimate were used in testing so this will also work with Windows 7 Premium and Professional. The computers used were (1) a 32-bit Dell Optiplex with Pentium 4 (2.26GHz), 2.0 GB RAM, 160 GB ATA hard disk, and (2) AMD Athlon 64-bit (2.4GHz), 2.0 GB RAM, 1 TB SATA hard disk.
Following these instructions correctly should always succeed. However, any change to your computer should not even be considered unless you have a rescue plan. This guide also contains that rescue plan - just in case!
The procedure used is suitable for experienced computer users.
If you prefer Windows to control the dual-boot then go to this page
Shrinking a Windows 8, 7 or Vista drive. You should use Shrink in Windows' Disk Management to resize the Windows partition. You can read Shrink the Windows 8. 7 or Vista Partition for instructions on completing this task successfully. Use the free GParted Live CD to gain disk space only if you must - read the page Use GParted to Resize the Windows 8, 7 or Vista Partition to learn how.
That's it! The Linux boot loader menu will boot Fedora 17 or Windows 7.
STEP-BY-STEP: Install Fedora 17 with Linux's GRUB in control when Windows 7 was installed first
It's the nature of a step-by-step that it appears long and difficult. Not so!
Installing other operating systems on your Windows 7 computer may invalidate your warrantee.
It's important to follow the instructions exactly as stated and you should have a properly working Windows.
A. Make your preparations
B Make space (Unallocated) for Fedora 17
You must create disk space and leave it as Unallocated. Decide first on how much disk space you need. Linux requires a minimum of two partitions - (1) Swap (Swap) and (2) Root (/) for Fedora files + boot files + all your data.
The size of the Swap partition depends on the size of your memory (RAM). Recommended sizes (from Fedora) are:
Some users create an extra EXT4 partition (/home) for Linux data. Use a minimum of 100MB (10-30GB may be more reasonable). This data partition can be left intact should you wish to upgrade or reinstall Linux at a later time.
Always make a note of the size of the Unallocated space (it will be named 'Free' in Linux).
If installing Fedora 17 on a 2nd or 3rd hard disk:
If installing Fedora 17 on the first hard disk:
This applies if you are installing fedora on the first hard disk and you must make the Windows partition smaller.
C. Install Fedora 17
No Raid or LVM was used when testing. Partitions were created manually during the installation. Fedora 17 was installed and the default location for the Boot Loader was accepted (to the MBR). The dual-boot was created automatically by Fedora.
Congratulations! You have created a GRUB-controlled natural dual-boot of Windows 7 and Linux Fedora 17 when Windows 7 was installed first, and the Windows-created MBR and boot loader have been replaced by the Linux version (GRUB).
Help! I want Windows-control back again!
The Windows boot loader can be recovered relatively easily. Please note that doing this will stop you booting to Linux Fedora.
How to reinstall/recover the Windows 7/Vista boot loader (BCD)
If you installed Linux's GRUB to the MBR:
Bootup any Windows 7/Vista installation DVD or even from NeoSmart's free Windows 7 System Recovery Disk.
If you want to use the hard disk space currently allocated to Fedora:
In just a few second you will have all the Linux space back in Win7. Restart computer.
Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.
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